HISTORY OF LOCHIEL SCHOOL/ECOLE LOCHIEL

Lochiel Campbell Valley

 The first Lochiel School, originally known as Biggar's Prairie School, was built in 1889 on North Bluff Road (16) in the area originally known as Biggar's Prairie and later as Lochiel. 

On June 30,1891, the Columbian Newspaper reported that the Lochiel public school examinations and picnic were "a great success." After the exams, the teacher, Miss Isaac, gave out prizes, the bagpipes played "Gathering of the Clans," and the people set up tables and had a feast with "all the delicious things that are good for the inner man". Following the food, games were started with jumping and stone throwing, and then more food, waltzing and reels until it was time to return home. 

Unfortunately, the school operated irregularly due to a lack of pupils. In 1924, it was replaced by a one-room structure which was used for one year before it was decided to bus students to Murrayville. The teacher in the 1924 school was Miss Edith Lee Fuller, whose annual salary was $900. 

In 1941-42, the school was reopened with approximately 40 pupils from grades 1 to 6. Their teacher was Pamela van der Hoop (later Mrs. Graham). 

In 1950, the school was moved to a three-acre plot on 224 Street just south of 16 Avenue, and a number of additions and portables were later added to the site. Arsonists set fire to the school in 1975, but despite smoke and water damage, the original structure survived. It was moved off the property by the Lochiel Community Club, and sat idle for a decade. After Mrs. Graham drove by the abandoned school in 1987, she was able to interest the Langley Heritage Society in restoring the building. 

Lochiel

In 1989 it was relocated to Campbell Valley Regional Park (710-204 Street) by the Langley Heritage Society, and restored to its original appearance. It is a municipally-designated heritage site, which is used for Langley Centennial Museum historic programs that interpret early education in Langley. Pat Davis leads the re-enactment of early education in Langley. 

After the fire, the site on 224 Street was rebuilt and eventually became a French immersion centre. The building is of wood frame construction and contains 4 classrooms, a library, gym, office, and staffroom. Portables were added to the grounds from time to time. The septic field, located on the east side of the school, was replaced in 1997. The school well, located on the southwest corner of the paved parking lot, is covered with a steel manhole lid. The school has a chain link fence, one intermediate playing field, and an adventure play structure. 

In 2000, the school was closed due to declining enrolment mainly because of the long distance commuting required of parents bringing students to the French Immersion Program. The students were transferred to Belmont Elementary for their French immersion classes. The School District unsuccessfully tried to sell the property 

in 2001-2. In 2003, the school reopened as the Lochiel U-Connect Centre for home-schooled students in Langley.



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